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Oil Filter Kit Tear Down. Amazons Finest vs Kubota OEM

Neil Messick: Neil Messick here sacrificing $100 worth of oil filters today so that you can see the insides of them. We're going to take a look at two different filter kits. Call it Amazon's finest for the Kubota BX, and then also the OEM kits, the Kubota puts together. We're going to slice the filters open on each one of those kits. Look at some of the differences, and see what the best dollar value for your money really is.
Neil: I have two contenders here for you today. This is the OEM Kubota Filter kit for the BX Series tractors. Now, there's actually three different filter kits for those machines. They vary a little bit depending on exactly what generation, what engine you've got in the machine because some of the maintenance parts are different between those models, but they're all going to contain the same parts. You'll have an engine oil filter, a transmission filter, an air filter, and two fuel filters. These are going to retail from messick.com, anywhere between $55 and $63. On the other side of the table here, I have, it's called an Amazon's Finest.
Amazon doesn't actually sell a lot of the stuff that you'll find in their marketplace. This is from a marketplace seller called Agenda. No idea exactly where this stuff is coming from, but it is $48 for the kit that I purchased here. Now very interestingly, if you start digging around Amazon and you search for BX filter kits, this is the cheapest one that's out there by far, because frankly, I was looking for low-quality stuff. You're going to find a lot of variety in the pricing that's out there. In many cases, the other retailers for these kits are quite a lot more money than what the Kubota kits themselves are.
These will sell for anywhere between $48 and $105 for the aftermarket Amazon BX series filter kits. We're going to work through these kits and look at each piece individually and gauge the viability and the differences between them, if you will. On your left is the Kubota OEM filter. This will be the aftermarket agenda filter. If I go through and peel these things open and look on the inside of them, there's very little in here that would cause me pause when it comes to a fuel filter. These little $3 fuel filters aren't particularly complicated.
In low horsepower engines like this, the purpose of these filters really is to catch debris and that stuff that might be coming through the fuel lines, because water moisture, that kind fo stuff is going to pass through these low horsepower engines without too much trouble. The function of these and the engineering that goes into these little white cans is really very little. To me, I don't get huge heartburn about seeing the construction of the aftermarket filter versus the OEM.
Now, we'll pause right here and point out that as we go up in horsepower, the quality of fuel filters becomes really important. Particularly, when you start talking common rail fuel injection and DEF and DPF filters up on that larger equipment, the quality of the fuel becomes phenomenally important, and we do see mechanical issues caused by running poor quality fuel filters. This is not a place though that I would have concerns. Next up, air filters aftermarket, OEM. Air filters are one of those things that are almost a commodity item.
If you look at a lot of your equipment, that air filter canister isn't some specially engineered canister by the equipment company itself. It's usually a supplier-provided part. Most of the equipment companies that I'm used to dealing with for OEM that stuff from Fleetguard or Donaldson. In the case of this one you'll actually look here at the Kubota part and notice on the bottom of it has a Fleetguard stamp and the Fleetguard part number right on the bottom of it. Now, interestingly enough, we sell Fleetguard as well. The Kubota filter is $18, the Fleetguard is $24.
You're not necessarily going to save money all the time by trying to seek out who the OEM of this filter was, but we all know it's not Kubota. They don't own an air filter factory. That's the difference here. The agenda equivalent of this looks very similar. I slid it into a tractor, it fit just fine. I did notice some differences between the top and the bottom here, and say how this is going to seal up against the canister. It's not the same, but there wasn't anything that jumped out at me that was going to be a huge problem.
Next up is the engine oil filter. I appreciate the engineering that goes into a filter. You may look at one of these and then think that, "Oh, I spin this on here and it filters my oil." There's more going on here than just filtering. When you look at this itself, you're going to have an O-ring here that seals against your engine in the threading that's going to pull it onto the pipe. Behind that though, you had this rubber seal. This is called an anti-drain back valve. It sits right back here to keep dirty oil from washing back into the engine.
You'll notice some aftermarket filters won't always have those. Inside of that, you'll have the filter element itself. Generally on these, we're looking for a lot of pleading. It's very difficult for us to look at these gauge like micron rating of their filtering capacity. Specifications on this stuff, one would think would be easy to come by but unfortunately, they're not. Looking at the aftermarket filters for this filter, I see a lot of variation in what that filtering capacity is.
Anywhere between 10 and 25 microns for what I've seen filtering out there, I do not have an answer on exactly what the OEM spec is for this filter. On the bottom of that, the bottom of the can you'll see a spring down in here. This spring is an over-pressure relief. If this filter is left on your engine for way too long, and it starts to create pressure on top of the filter, this can push down and allow oil to bypass the filter because the thinking is that dirty oil in your engine is better than no oil at all.
If you don't change the filter and you run that thing, and the pressure relief that spring is down there to allow that to happen. I did this video with NAPA filters a couple years ago, it's a very popular video out there on YouTube. I was really surprised at how poor the NAPA filters were. All three grades of their Wix-made oil filters were an outright joke compared to the quality of the OEM that was $2 more. This though is quite impressive. I would almost say that I would be more comfortable running this Amazon filter than I would be most anything from the Wix snapper line.
All the bits are here. When we took the top off, we found that anti-drain back seal was right here on the inside. It's hard to compare the pleading like we were just saying, but the size of the can itself and the pleading it's there looks almost identical. When I did this from NAPA, some of these were quite a lot smaller and had very obviously less pleading in them. In the bottom of the can here, there is a spring for that pressure relief. One thing I did notice is the tension on that spring on this filter is very, very little.
It's very easy to push this filter into relief compared to the tension that it takes on the OEM filter, nearly double I would say. It takes a lot of pressure to push the Kubota one down compared to the aftermarket. I'd say I have a fair confidence in the filtering capability of this and that all the mechanical things are in place, but in the case of relief, this is going to relief way, way easier than what the OEM does. Another thing here to look at too would be the thickness of the cans themselves.
We do see frequently people that will damage their oil filters because a stick or something pops up and cleans on through the filter. The sturdiness of the OEM can is definitely heavier than what the aftermarket is. That's been consistent with nearly every filter that I've cut open. Next up is the hydraulic filters. This is the place that I would see way more issues in not running OEM filters than just about anything else. That could just be because of the less variety of hydraulic filters that are out there on the market compared to engine oil filters.
Then you're also talking much greater variability in terms of flow rates and viscosities, and that stuff compared to a very, call it defined and more simplistic engine market than what you have in transmission filters. When I was going through the reviews for this filter kit, I found a lot of people complaining that they were having trouble with the Amazon filter leaking. If I compare the mounting faces here of these two, I'm not sure exactly why that would be happening except to say that I can very clearly see that the O-ring here is a lot more proud.
It sticks out more on the aftermarket filter, and the rubber itself feels harder to me. It doesn't seem like this one would seal up as well on the transmission, that's probably reflected in its reviews. Going inside the can here, we just talked about that anti-drain back valve. The Kubota has one, the aftermarket does not. This filter here sits sideways in your transmission, and if you've got dirt and debris collecting down here in the bottom of the filter, this valve here on the Kubota will keep that debris from spilling back into your transmission where this filter lacks that valve, it's physically not there.
When we look at the elements themselves, the Kubota you could see is larger. It's about the same diameter, but it's going to be a little taller. The pleading in here is also a little bit more dense. One would expect, again not knowing like magic that might be in these materials or what the micron capacity, the filtering is that this one probably is going to be a little bit better, but it is at the end of the day tough to say. In the bottom of the cans down here, we have pressure release for those drain back valves. Again, same function is in the engine that we were talking before. If this thing happens to plug up, this is going to be able to push down into the can in order to allow that oil to bypass. We have something completely different. In this case, the aftermarket filter has a lot of springiness to it and can drop down in while the Kubota filter has very, very little. Again, this is going to bypass a lot easier than what the OEM filter is intended to. In conclusion, this is better than I expected.
Is your tractor going to blow apart in 10 hours because you've put this filter kit on it? No. Probably, not. Let's be honest about that. Do I think though, that if you're going to run filters like this, you should definitely change them more frequently than the OEM filters would? I absolutely would say that you could see the difference in the bypass pressures they're alone. These are not made to be run as long as what these are. There's a difference there. This is going to bypass much more quickly than what this will.
There's also that drain back valve difference here in the transmission filter that seems to be missing. At the end of the day, there is a $7 difference between these, and these are filters for machines that now cost $20,000 and more. Would I think that it's worth the risk to go through and have filters that aren't made specifically for my machine? Absolutely not, that's probably pretty obvious. Many of us make the assumptions sometimes when we go buy things on Amazon that we're saving all kinds of money when we do that.
With tractor parts, in particular, I see that more often than not, that's not the case. Amazon is an expensive marketplace for sellers. We do sell there and when we do, we mark things up in order to cover the 15% in fees that Amazon charges us to be there. You'll always find tractor parts and stuff that are sold by Messicks to be less expensive on our own website than on any third-party marketplace that we participate in. On that note, Kubota parts specifically in most parts are major OEMs are forbidden from dealers selling them on third-party marketplaces.
We don't have these there. Every Kubota dealer is forbidden from doing that. There is another video to be made sometime about the drop shippers who are listing items there and the amount of credit card fraud that is tied to that business. It's another interesting conversation. If you like this video, this is about the fifth or sixth one of these that I've done now showing these things being torn apart. I have never had a filter that I've cut open before that I have felt better about the alternative compared to the OEM.
You will never lose when it comes to taking care of your machinery by trying to run the OEM fluids and filters and the things that were engineered and intended for your tractor. If we can help with any of your maintenance items, it is why we're here. We're glad to help. You can check us out at Messicks.com or give us a call at 800-222-3373.

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